Sleep does not come easily to me; it never has and I suspect it never will. This year, as a Lenten practice, I am reading nightly from Yours Is The Day, Lord, Yours Is the Night, a prayer book edited by Jeanie and David Gushee. Here are a few of the selections I've appreciated recently. I'm finding in these words prayed by others a calming focus for my thoughts.
I thank You, O God, for Your care and protection this day, keeping me from physical harm and spiritual corruption. I now place the work of the day into Your hands, trusting that You will redeem my errors, and turn my achievements to Your glory. And I now ask You to work within me, trusting that You will use the hours of rest to create in me a new heart and new soul . . . Let me rest tonight in Your arms, and so may the dreams that pass through my mind be holy. And let me awake tomorrow, strong and eager to serve You. Amen. --Jacob Boehme (1575-1624)
Dear Lord, The people I encountered today walk again before my mind’s eye as day ends. Loving God, I lift each one to You— those whom I love, those whom I barely know, those with whom I struggle. Each one You made in Your divine image; each You have sustained until this moment; each You have suffered and died for in Your Son. As my eyes close, I ask You to bless each one, and may I be a blessing to them also, tomorrow and in days to come. Amen. --David P. Gushee (1962--) Feet, still, still now, upon the floor, no need to hurry. Hands, lie quietly at rest, no task to do just now. Body, relax in peace, serene; now calmly rest. Mind, let go the scurrying, let thought be still, so still. Soul, in silence vast as space, reach, yearning, loving, unto God. Amen. --Elizabeth Searle Lamb (1917-2005)
O Christ my Lord, My day ends with so much left undone. But so too will my life— when I sleep earth’s final sleep. I cherish the illusion that I am writing my own story, which will conclude at my direction, when I have fulfilled all my intention. But no—You are composing, in my few days, the story You desire. Ceding my illusion, I release myself into Your care. In trust, I close my eyes in sleep. --David P. Gushee (1962--)